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Old 04-10-2013
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Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

I've seen many anecdotal reports. The problems with these, no matter how well intentioned, is that they are not controlled:

* The person cleaned the boat, fixed some leaks, and sure enough, the mildew is gone.
* The odor wasn't mildew; it was the head, bilge, or some other source. The tea tree oil did make the odor go, which has value, but is not the same thing.
* I've read EPA and other studies that suggest that even dirrect liquid application of dilluted oil may have limited effectiveness and only create resistant bugs.

I've done some controlled testing, and if there is an affect, it must be subtle. My conditions my be too severe, while on the other hand I am using a smallish container that would concentrate the vapors (you wouldn't enjoy breathing it for long). Some sprayed liquid products are working very well (Concrobium--a TSP/baking soda/washing soda blend, washing soda/borax blend, other commercial anti-mold).

I find myself suspecting that anything that is strong enough to work will not be something you can live with. Additionally, we actively vent boats to control reduce moisture, removing any vapors. Nice smelling perhaps, but actually a bio-stat in a marine environment? Actual performance is difficult to measure, while spray-applied products have been proven.

Please share anything quantitative and controlled. I've seen HVAC data, but that focuses on metal ducts.
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Last edited by pdqaltair; 04-10-2013 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

Excellent question. Are you specifically looking at it as a mold killer, or as a general biostat?
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Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

We make Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash and toothpaste for one of are customers

the inherent antiseptic properties of pure, Eco Harvest® Tea Tree Oil.


I find all the items to be horrid and well pretty close to turpentine

It does however survive with no preservative system which is something in itself
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Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
I've seen many anecdotal reports. The problems with these, no matter how well intentioned, is that they are not controlled:

* The person cleaned the boat, fixed some leaks, and sure enough, the mildew is gone.
* The odor wasn't mildew; it was the head, bilge, or some other source. The tea tree oil did make the odor go, which has value, but is not the same thing.
* I've read EPA and other studies that suggest that even dirrect liquid application of dilluted oil may have limitied effectivness and only create resistant bugs.

I've done some controlled testing, and if there is an affect, it must be subtle. My conditions my be too severe, while on the other hand I am using a smallish container that would consentrate the vapors (you wouldn't enjoy breathing it for long). Some sprayed liquid products are working very well (Concrobium--a TSP/baking soda/washing soda blend, washing soda/borax blend, other comercial anti-mold).

I find myself suspecting that anything that is strong enough to work will not be something you can live with, like mothballs (even before we learned they were toxic... which we always suspected). Additionally, we actively vent boats to control reduce moisture, removing any vapors. Nice smelling perhaps, but not actually a bio-stat. Clever marketing, but successful because actual performance is difficult to measure? Spray-applied products have been proven.

Please share anything quanititative and controled.
At the risk of sounding smug, because I enjoy your posts and think they are usually very relevant, I have to ask is your statement/ question of us amateurs who have provided the anecdotal evidence, to provide detailed quantitative and controlled evidence another way of saying indirectly we are just the dupes of a cleaver marketing scheme.

I would suggest you ask this question to the makers of Kanaberra gell or tree oils for instance and report back on what you find. I bet they have quantitative and a qualitative analysis done. You will do us all a great service in disproving or arguing for against its effects.

All I can tell you that I have used this product for 4 years now, and it APPEARS to have a positive effect on our boat. I believe my answer will be the same as others who use the product. Others have often commented on their experiences also, although not done as a test study constitute and preponderance of anecdotal evidence that it is having a positive affect on their boats also. To me its not like being on trial for murder and it doesn't have to be proven within a shadow of doubt.

Until then feel free not to use it until proven to you beyond a shadow of doubt or until you can prove them to me just a mere marketing scheme.
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

As another of the amateurs providing qualitative rather than quantitative benefits from using tree tree oil products I can only say, qualitiatve is good enough for me.

All I know is that when Kanberra was brought to my attention through this forum, I did some reading and decided to go my own cheaper way trying tea tree oil mixtures found online. We started using it both on the boat and in our washing machine which was creating an unplesant odor (Front loaders have a reputation for doing this). All I know is my towels don't stink anymore and my boat doesn't punch me in the face with a musty odor every time I open the companionway every weekend.

Did I actually kill any mold/mildew, or just clean a bunch of it up and keep it from returning? I don't know and I don't care. All I know is since using my homemade tea tree oil concoction I don't have odors unlike products I tried like Fabreze, so I'm just content in my ignorance.
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Old 04-10-2013
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

I don't think the original question was a bad one. I think it's good that Practical sailor is attempting to find some scientific or semi scientific rationale for believing that Teatree oil will work. It is good to ask for Some empirical evidence to prove this. That is one of the things that I like about practical sailor. While I may not always agree with their test methods, or the conclusions of the reach I appreciate that they are at least attempting to find a repeatable practical way of testing some claims that we read about hear about. If no true testing has been done, then I guess will have to rely on practical sailor to do that for us. But asking if someone has already done some actual testing is not a bad way to start.

I, too, have made my own special concoction to help rid the boat of mildew. I use a combination of vinegar, and Teatree oil. It seems to have worked well so far, I cleaned the boat about four weeks ago, and still haven't seen any growing back inside, despite me not being there for sometime. Does that mean that might solution actually works? Only time will tell.
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

I'm sorry if I irritate anyone when I dismiss anecdotal evidence. It is useful in developing a thesis and checking reasonableness. But scientific method is like that; any time I start any sort of testing, whether in my real life or this hobby, the first thing I MUST do is isolate all opinions I may hold at the start. Often I'm most pleased when my favorite product--or at least the product I expected to do well--doesn't; it means I was not reporting my preconceived notions and perhaps that the method was sufficiently blind and well controlled.

No, I have not done enough testing to say it is a deception and I should not have implied that; it's a forum post, not an article. In fact, I think it makes good sense, based upon some literature data related to HVAC. The dosing rates even seem about comparable, somewhere in the low ppm range. I am certain it is orders of magnitude less effective than direct applied treatments and thus would be used in combination.

The web site doesn't direct the reader to useful data--I had to find that elsewhere. They do show this experiment:
http://www.kanberragel.com/downloads...Experiment.pdf
But clearly the dose is perhaps 5000 times higher that actual use (2 quarts vs 20,000 ft3 of air flow over 45 days). I've done some testing with much larger volumes, and as a result I've come to suspect the dose rate is very sensitive to the amount of absorbent material (carpet, upholstery) present.

I'm just saying it's complicated and not easy to model. I've got a cat (completely identical staterooms) so some side-by-side testing will start very soon. The main problem is that under dry, clean conditions mildew doesn't grow, so how do you test fairly, without exaggerating something unfairly? The challenge with many marine items--anchors, fuel additives, holding tanks--is that the issues vary so much from one boat to another. I was swapping tips with another PDQ owner 2 days ago, and though our boats are very similar, his fuel and holding tank issues are very different because of minor design differences. Most often there is not one answer, only trends and some discussion of the theory and our observations.

I have a number of essential oil and chemical products to look at. I'm not sure where this is headed just yet. Just gathering information.

_____________

For what it's worth, I can't guess why using vinegar would help; directly applied to a surface the low pH will be fatal, but most molds like slightly lowered (acid) pH and vinegar in a pot would only encourage that.
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

My vinegar and oil solution (sounds like salad dressing) was a wipe-on thing, not something in a pot. I have 2 Kanberra jars in the cabin.
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Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
I'm sorry if I irritate anyone when I dismiss anecdotal evidence. It is useful in developing a thesis and checking reasonableness. But scientific method is like that; any time I start any sort of testing, whether in my real life or this hobby, the first thing I MUST do is isolate all opinions I may hold at the start. Often I'm most pleased when my favorite product--or at least the product I expected to do well--doesn't; it means I was not reporting my preconceived notions and perhaps that the method was sufficiently blind and well controlled.

No, I have not done enough testing to say it is a deception and I should not have implied that; it's a forum post, not an article. In fact, I think it makes good sense, based upon some literature data related to HVAC. The dosing rates even seem about comparable, somewhere in the low ppm range. I am certain it is orders of magnitude less effective than direct applied treatments and thus would be used in combination..
You didn't irritate me Its is just sometimes people look at things differently.

My previous profession of 30 years as a chef required that I was not so analytical approach oriented. It absolutely would have stifled creativity as a culinarian. Sometimes my approach still reverts back to that line of thinking.
If I had had to have every new creation proved out ahead of time, I would have been a failure.

I understand the importance for knowing why this works...I want to know too.
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Old 04-11-2013
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Re: Tea Tree Oil--Any credible 3rd party testing as area biostat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
I, too, have made my own special concoction to help rid the boat of mildew. I use a combination of vinegar, and Teatree oil. It seems to have worked well so far, I cleaned the boat about four weeks ago, and still haven't seen any growing back inside, despite me not being there for sometime. Does that mean that might solution actually works? Only time will tell.
I haven't cleaned with the tree oil, but just have the Kanberra gel in various parts of the boat. Its not just tree oil also. It has a very specific mix of ingredients.

Dave
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